Warning: Current U.S. regulations require new security clearance checks on certain foreign nationals applying for non-immigrant visas to the U.S. These checks may be random, or they may be triggered by criteria such as country of birth or citizenship, or field of study or research. If you are from Cuba, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria or Libya, or your field of study is listed on the Technology Alert List (found online at: http://foia.state.gov/masterdocs/09fam/0940031X1.pdf), it is likely that you will be subject to an extended security check. These checks can delay the visa application process by as much as two to three months. Please plan accordingly if you need to travel outside the U.S., and/or if you need to apply for a new visa.
If you travel out of the U.S. while you are in H status, you should have the following documents in order to be re-admitted to the U.S.
If your H visa stamp has expired, you may be able to apply for a new H visa by mail to Washington D.C. Please contact the Office of Visa and Immigration Services for information on how to do this. If you do not have a valid H-1B visa, you will need to go to the U.S. consulate (outside of the U.S.) to apply for the new visa stamp.
WARNING: Whenever you apply to the U.S. consulate for a new entry visa stamp, you always run the risk that your application may be denied. It is not recommended that you apply for a visa stamp at a U.S. consulate in a country of which you are not a citizen. If you are denied in a "third country", you will be required to travel home from that country to apply for the visa. You will not be allowed to come back to the U.S. first, even if you have applied in Canada.
Non-immigrant H-1B visa applicants are normally required to submit the following documentation to the U.S. consulate abroad:
Automatic Revalidation: Travel to Contiguous Territory & Adjacent Islands
H-1B / H-4 status individuals
After initial entry to the U.S., persons in H-1B status who have an expired non-immigrant visa in their passport may re-enter the U.S. without obtaining a new U.S. visa if their travel was solely to a contiguous territory (Canada or Mexico) and their travel is for a period not exceeding 30 days. This procedure is known as "automatic revalidation" of the U.S. visa. The visa is automatically presumed to be valid for entry to the U.S. on the date the non-immigrant presents him- or herself at the U.S. border.
To take advantage of automatic re-validation of an expired H-1B visa after travel to a contiguous territory, travelers must have, in addition to their passport and I-797 H-1B or H-4 approval notice, a valid Form I-94 card or passport Admission stamp showing H-1B or H-4 status. If you entered the U.S. by air or sea, OVIS recommends carrying a copy of your electronic Form I-94, which can be accessed and printed here. It is also recommended to carry with you proof of your employment, such as a letter from your employer, or paycheck stubs.
Note that the following persons are *ineligible* for Automatic Revalidation:
If you are planning to take advantage of it please see the copy of the regulation that allows this, here (22 CFR C. 1, part 41.112(d)).
Last Updated: 1/20/15